Housing proposed for Miracle Lane shopping center

The site of a once-bustling shopping complex in northwest Dayton that has sat vacant for years could soon become independent senior housing.

Concept plans for the Miracle Lane Shopping Center property, near the intersection of Salem and Hillcrest avenues, call for developing a three- or four-story senior living complex, said Steve Budd, president of CityWide Development Corp., Dayton’s economic development arm.

The city needs more housing that allows residents to age in place, and residents of the neighborhood have long pushed for that site to be redeveloped, officials said.

“This is so much needed in Dayton,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.

The Phoenix Project is a public-private partnership that seeks to revitalize the Fairview neighborhood, which is home to Good Samaritan Hospital.

The Phoenix partners, including the hospital, the city and CityWide, have a memorandum of understanding with Cincinnati-based Model Group to build housing for seniors to live independently on the 8.5-acre site, Budd said.

Under the proposal, the housing would be managed by Episcopal Retirement Homes, which is a Cincinnati-based provider of senior services that operates the Canterbury Court retirement community in West Carrollton, he said.

The conceptual proposal is a three- or four-story facility, with residential on the upper floors and service, retail or office space on the ground floor, Budd said.

“Anyone who drives up and down Salem Avenue (knows) there’s just not a lot of retail anymore,” he said. “We desperately need some new retail.”

Budd said that section of Salem Avenue finally is starting to see some new development, including the recent opening of the Five Rivers Family Health Center.

The senior housing project is in the predevelopment phase. Next steps include completing surveys, market studies and putting together financing and a plan to obtain tax credits, Budd said.

“If all goes well, we’ll be asking the city to endorse this project later this year,” Budd said.

The project could break ground in the fall of 2016. Right now, it is Phoenix project’s last large real estate redevelopment plan.

The city and Good Sam have contributed more than $20 million to improving the area around the hospital’s campus. The Phoenix project dates back to 2004, and the total private investment in the area exceeds $90 million.

“Phoenix will slow down a little bit,” Budd said. “But I think the hospital will continue to support neighborhood-type activities.”

The Miracle Lane shopping center was home to high-end furniture and clothing stores in the 1950s.

But over time, it fell into disrepair and was cited for multiple code violations in the mid-1990s.

In 1996, most of the center was razed and the last remaining tenant, Bettman’s Pharmacy, moved out in 2001.

Neighborhood residents held a number of meetings over the years to discuss redevelopment possibilities. Yet nothing materialized.

Mayor Whaley said Dayton needs more housing to help seniors remain in the community as they age.

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